Yes, Arrow fans, I said it. I can almost feel the hate already just from that headline. Sorry, Olicity shippers, I have some major gripes with this forced pairing, and I'm kind of surprised more people don't share the sentiment. In fact, I think Felicity telling Oliver she didn't want to be a woman he loved was long overdue. And here's why.
Felicity Smoak is arguably one of the smartest female characters in the DC universe. She's an intelligent and independent woman who, according to her own back story, is a survivor with a bit of a dark side to her. She's basically the female Lucius Fox to Oliver's Arrow. She started by indulging in his odd requests, eventually learning to trust in him and becoming his crime-fighting partner. Felicity is, without question, the brains of the operation; a hero in her own right that may not get a mask and a secret identity, but in this day and age, her tech skills are a super power on their own.
Now, let's revisit that fateful moment in the season 2 finale. When Oliver leads Felicity to the empty Queen Manor telling her that she had to stay put because he loved her, half of Twitter seemed to squee in unison. But I watched with one eyebrow raised, wondering where the hell they were going with this. The scenario seemed to play out in a way I could totally get behind: Oliver lured Slade to the mansion and Felicity, who was in on the scheme all along, stabbed Slade in the neck, injecting him with the cure. Yes! Give the smart girl something to do that shows she has brains and is tough when the situation calls for it. Let her be the hero.
But my satisfaction was short lived because, soon after, Oliver and Felicity became a thing, or an almost-thing, turning Felicity Smoak into a lame and outdated trope in the process. Instead of letting the smart, savvy MIT grad and former hacktivist show she can hold her own with the boys on Team Arrow, she was diminished to Oliver's "Girl of The Week", falling for him the minute he randomly decides he's in love with her...which is about 5 minutes after his girlfriend that he was super-in love with broke up with him. You know, the girlfriend who he happened to be cheating on his former girlfriend with. Oh yeah, who also happened to be that former girlfriend's little sister. Oh, but wait. Oliver is a new man, or his love for Felicity is different so that will make him a new man. Except for, he isn't and it won't. And it's time to stop pushing that message when it comes to love stories.
While Oliver may have returned to Starling with the intention of serving some greater purpose in life, he didn't really shed his playboy ways at any point. For someone who's been super busy saving the city, he's still managed to sleep with Laurel, date Helena Bertenelli (aka The Huntress), then get back with Sara once he found out she was still alive. He may have playfully flirted with Felicity (not often, though), but Oliver is a player, and that's what players do. Felicity always carried herself as the type of girl who took part in the playful banter, but ultimately had Oliver's number when it came to him and his love life. And despite what they say in When Harry Met Sally, guys and girls can be just friends without sex ever being a factor in that relationship.
So, what purpose did a Felicity and Oliver relationship serve, outside of reminding us that Oliver is a playboy? Try as you may, there was never a real chemistry between the two of them aside from as close friends. Making this a possible storyline almost seemed to be done more as a response to fan fantasy versus it being a natural, or necessary, story arc. Do we need every girl to fall for the hot, emotionally unavailable hero? Or can we let them occasionally be just as smart when it comes to love as they are in the other areas of their lives? Let her pursue and possibly end up with a guy who actually shows interest in her from day one, like Ray. Or she could even stay single, being too focused on her role in saving Starling to have time for a relationship. Hey, that excuse always works for the hero, so it should be just as viable a possibility for her, too.
Felicity Smoak, who's supposed to be smart and tough character, deserves better than being reduced to the sexy computer nerd who awkwardly pines for the shirtless hero. And fans, especially women, deserve a character that isn't another smart-girl-gone-dumb because their crush says he loves her, especially when that love is nothing more than over-glorified lust that came out of left field. It perpetuates a really bad stereotype that every girl needs and wants to be saved, and is willing to overlook some glaringly obvious character flaws just to land the guy who may do it. Look, I enjoy watching Oliver perform that salmon-ladder, too, but it takes a lot more than a hot guy working out with his shirt off for me to fall in love, and the same should go for Felicity. A woman like Felicity Smoak is completely capable of saving herself.